Friday, April 22, 2011

Down Terrace

Brits do kitchen sink drama better than anybody else.  Ben Wheatley's "Down Terrace" tells a rather rambling story about a son and his father, (real life Robin and Robert Hill) boss, it would seem, of a small-time Sussex crime family, who in the beginning are acquitted for unspecified offences. All seems not well, however and webs of suspicion fall on one or other of their associates who are coldly and unemotionally bludgeoned, stabbed, shot or poisoned for allegedly informing on them to the police.  Psychopathy mingles uneasily with family loyalty which garrottes each cold soul, slowly and relentlessly as the family structures disintegrate. Critics called the outbreaks of violence comic and absurd - I found them creepy, appalling and darkly realistic. One particular murder - almost everyone seems to end up dead - involved the quite neutral dialogue of the son asking his 'friend' if he'd mind holding up a large transparent plastic sheet against a wall, for no discernible reason. The friend, amiable and bovine, agrees, and is fatally bludgeoned  once with a hammer for merely falling under suspicion and is then wrapped tidily in the sheet which he once held. The sheer lack of remorse, repeated in various other terminal scenarios, including an old lady, mother to one of the suspects, being casually pushed in front of a moving car lends undertones of undiluted evil. This isn't Coen Brothers in Bermondsey, Eastenders, nor the Sopranos in South London. Much, much  worse. We are left to wonder who will be left standing at the end.
The soundtrack is, paradoxically, full of simple beauty such as "Babes in the Wood" by the Copper Family and a dark rendition of the mountain gospel song "We Shall All Be Reunited"
Eight out of ten, as long as you have a strong stomach.

1 comment:

  1. Watching this type of show is not enjoyable to me anymore. I remember the moment (during "Reservoir Dogs")when I realized that my chosen profession had nudged me over into the "Added knowledge increases sorrow" category. I find it sad and much too close to home to be entertainment.

    Now I want to meet the person/people who write this stuff.


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